It has taken months, more trips to the immigration/other offices than I can count on two hands, and many appeals to the heavens…. But at long last, the Immigration Saga has reached a happy ending. I have my KITAS (Kartu Izin Tinggal Terbatas = Limited Stay Permit Card) as well as a MERP (Multiple Re-Entry Permit) stamped in my passport. What this means is that I am finally a LEGAL resident of Indonesia and that I am free to leave and return to Indonesia until the dreaded day of May 22, 2016. Hallelujah! Alhumdulilah! Happy day, happy day! No more worries about being deported!
Since Immigration Part 1 was posted two months ago, I have made many other trips to the immigration office. I have a running joke that Kantor Imigrasi (the immigration office) is my favorite, happiest, most fun place in Pangkal Pinang. Of course I am kidding, though I will say that my experience with the immigration office in Pangkal Pinang has been far easier than what other ETAs have had to deal with. From outright bribery of officials (one ETA was able to compromise on a ring for a bribe and went shopping with the would-be corruption money) to fussy officials who just enjoy giving the run-around to hapless foreigners, Fulbright ETAs this year definitely have had to have a crash course in working with the Indonesian bureaucracy in the mutual quest for legality.
To be honest though, much of the interim time between Immigration Part 1 and now has been spent waiting for papers to get pushed around in Jakarta. All of the office visits last time were required to get local approval for my visa, which was then sent over to Jakarta for approval from the national level. Pak Elvan, my stellar counterpart who would be a surefire candidate for Counterpart of the Year if there were such a thing, and the folks at AMINEF have done all of the legwork. I just show up wearing batik with whatever paperwork I am told to bring.
There might be an Immigration Part 3 because I have to return to visit my friends at Kantor Imigrasi before I leave, but I doubt that will warrant a post of its own.
In the meantime, now that I am legal life in PKP continues to be better than ever. My school’s schedule has been nuts, though this warrants a rant of its own. In and out of school I’ve been keeping busy, hence the long absence from my blog. Speaking of, our friends Mango and Lya are almost here to escort Caitlin and I to Gramedia, the bookstore and oasis of air-conditioned orderliness. That’s all for now!